Dayy, monthh xx, 2010 THE NEW MEXICAN


who made a difference
Volunteer work is not always clean. Whether it’s working at a homeless shelter, building Zozobra or leaving your day job at a hospital to run with kids, it sometimes requires rolled-up sleeves and vigor. That’s what sets this group of the 10 Who Made A Difference honorees apart — they all found something they love to do and have made time in their busy lives to jump in and engage. As we give thanks and blessings on this holiday, we hope readers find some inspiration in their stories.

Creating bonds through music

By Inez Russell
nside the band room at De Vargas Middle School, a cacophony is building. Noise from trumpets, guitarróns and violins echoes as musicians prepare for that day’s practice. In the midst of chaos, Mary Helen Romero Kelty is calm, watching and strumming her own instrument as Mariachi Conquistador gets ready to work. “I thought, ‘Why am I sitting here when I could be playing?’ ” she said of her decision to pick up the vihuela at 54. “It’s a lot of fun. And the very fact that I do play with the kids — they feel more relaxed around me.” That inability to waste time is one reason Kelty has accomplished so much over her lifetime of teaching, counseling and volunteering. She just won’t stop — or, as Ernest Gonzales put it in his letter nominating Kelty as one of the 2010 10 Who Made A Difference, “Mary Helen is the organizer, the fundraiser, the tireless worker, the vihuela player and singer, and the heart and soul upon whom the program’s success depends.” That program is Mariachi Conquistador, which Kelty founded after going back to work at De Vargas as a counselor in 2003. She had already spent some 17 years teaching consumer science in the Santa Fe Public Schools, and then another four years directing the Grads Project at the SER/Career Academy before becoming a counselor at De Vargas. Typically, Kelty earned her counseling certification while on a “sabbatical” as a Golden Apple award winner for excellence in teaching. Over the years, she has served on the

Photo by Jane Phillips

The New Mexican
have pride in their culture and to pass it on.” Kelty knows what it is like firsthand to assimilate — as the youngest of seven children growing up in Truchas, she had older brothers and sisters who spoke mostly Spanish. “By the time I got to school, I knew English,” she said. “At Capital, I was expected to meet with parents. You know how I learned my Spanish? Watching telenovelas.” Music can serve another purpose — bringing together immigrant and local children for a united purpose. “Music is a common language,” she said. “I think it brings kids together. We go on trips. That’s when we all bond.” The hours of volunteering, she said, are possible because her husband, Chic, is understanding. “He’s learned to be really flexible,” she said. Perhaps that’s because he’s busy as well, teaching youth rugby and volunteering with the Adaptive Ski Program. Both her parents were active volunteers — her mom busy at church and at her daughter’s school; her dad active at church, community groups and as mayordomo of their acequia in Truchas. “When I started working,” she said, “that was the thing to do. It’s second nature to get involved.” Or, in her case, third, fourth and fifth — she doesn’t quit, whether helping children or raising money to get even more children involved. Her motto is simple, summed up in her favorite quotation to describe her group: “Where excellence is our attitude.” Contact Inez Russell at

boards of Gerard’s House, Partners in Education and the Santa Fe Fiesta Council, and she has won the Teachers Who Inspire award. And that’s a short list. Once back at work at De Vargas, Kelty wanted an activity to excite her middle-school students. Gonzales, known for his mariachi expertise at Kaune and Chaparral elementaries (he’s a past 10 Who Made A Difference honoree) had just retired. “I nabbed him,” Kelty said. “I noticed immigrant kids weren’t participating in any groups. No sports, etc. I didn’t have one red cent.” So what? Kelty got out her sewing machine and made Pumpkin Pals for Halloween. The cute pumpkin people (complete with a basket for candy) have been popular ever since. “I donate my time,” she said. “I wanted to do this for the kids, but I can’t expect the instructor/director to donate that amount of time.” She got a boost when a local Rotary Club donated money for the trajes, the uniforms the musicians wear. Like with everything put together by volunteer effort, sometimes the outfits fit, sometimes they don’t. But Kelty doesn’t let black pants and white shirts mixed in with the trajes stop her kids. The music is what matters. This year, 69 students showed up during the first week of practice, she said — most from De Vargas, but also from Santa Fe High, Monte del Sol and other city schools. “We didn’t have enough instruments,” said Kelty, who added that after some kids dropped out for sports or other activities, about 50 are

participating after school. “If we could have classes during the school day, we would have a hopping mariachi program.” Even so, mariachi players have graduated from Mariachi Conquistador to play with local professional groups. “I hate to lose them, but you know they’ve achieved when they’re asked to play with adult groups.” Different sections of Mariachi Conquistador — the trumpets, the guitars or the performing group — meet after school, depending on the day. Not every musician attends every afternoon, but Kelty and Gonzales are there, directing the trumpets or the violins, or watching the performing group play. Additionally, the musicians perform at different functions around town and attend workshops and conferences. They even practice during the summer — and the entire operating budget (anywhere from $7,000 to $8,000 a year — but more would mean more kids could take part) comes from Kelty’s fundraising activities, whether her Pumpkin Pals or school dances or grant-writing. Donations from Partners in Education, Frost Foundation, Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, Los Alamos National Bank and the State Employees Credit Union have helped keep Mariachi Conquistador going. It’s a way, Kelty believes, to interest students in school activities while at the same time keeping them culturally grounded. “I really believe that a lot of minorities who come to the U.S. get assimilated. They forget where they come from,” she said. “It’s important to remember where they come from, to

Section editor: Bruce Krasnow, 986-3034, Design and headlines: Lori Johnson,



THE NEW MEXICAN Thursday, November 25, 2010

who made a di≠erence

veteran funeral honors MANNY ORTIZ Boy Scouts ERNESTINE HAGMAN college guidance DOROTHY MASSEY Collected Works bookstore owner DESIREE ROMERO nursing home volunteer AL LUCERO Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen DAVE McQUARIE disability advocate JOHNNY MICOU Gailsteo Basin preservation LOU FINLEY tutoring JOSE & CLARE VILLA Northern Rio Grande Heritage



From left: Guy Gronquist, Kenneth Semon, Sue Breslauer, Vahid Mojarrab, Tom Ortiz, Angela Merkert, Amelia H. Romero, Bob Gaines, Sandra Tompkins, Brooke Pickrell, Ray Masterson; not shown, L.V. West, Charles Cole, James Leehan

Feeding the homeless
Photos by Jane Phillips

By Erika Dávila
very night, just before the Interfaith Community Shelter opens its doors, volunteers gather in a circle for prayer. It is part of the daily routine at the shelter on Cerrillos Road, though faith and a willingness to help those in need have been the foundation for the group of people who came together several years ago and decided it was time to stop letting Santa Fe’s homeless die on the streets. This month, the vision that began to take shape three winters ago became a reality. Over the summer, the city of Santa Fe purchased the Pete’s Pets building at 2801 Cerrillos Road, allowing the Interfaith Community Shelter to lease it indefinitely and make the facility its permanent home (the group leased it from the previous owner last winter). Here, the group can provide up to 100 homeless people a place to sleep each night — something no other facility in Santa Fe had ever been able to accomplish. Guests can stay as many nights as they want between November and April — the months during which the shelter is open. “I find it remarkable that we’ve been able to accomplish what it is we’ve been able to do,” said Susan Odiseos, the founding board chairwoman of the group, who has since stepped down. Odiseos is just one of many who helped spearhead the shelter. The list includes St. Elizabeth Shelter, the Santa Fe Public Schools Adelante program for homeless students, the city of Santa Fe — which has provided financial support — and especially the group of 20 faith communities that started the process. The number of faith and community groups involved has since grown to 43, comprising more than 1,860 volunteers who make it possible for the shelter to operate smoothly night after night. Last winter, the shelter provided more than 10,000 bed nights, housing between 55 and 76 guests each night. “It is amazing the level of compassion in this community,” said the Rev. Kenneth Semon, pastor of the Church of the Holy Faith and chairman of the board. Semon is another founding member among the group of representatives from Santa Fe’s faith communities that began meeting in 2007. The previous winter had seen about two dozen homeless people die in the streets. However, St. Elizabeth Shelter could house just 22 men, a few women and a family each night, with guests allowed to stay for up to 30 days. Semon said the group quickly realized this did not begin to meet the need for emergency shelter during the winter months. So a grass-roots effort began with Santa Fe’s churches holding a “round robin,” where each group would house women and children for two weeks at a time during winter. Men were sheltered at the Salvation Army. The plan was not ideal, however, because many of the churches were not near bus lines, and it wasn’t easy to get the word out on which group was hosting when. In the winter of 2008, the group began leasing a facility on St. Michael’s Drive. Some nights, up to 80 people would

The New Mexican

MONICA LOVATO boxer MARY LOUISE & GORDON BETANCOURT youth sports, delinquency, at-risk teens FRED BENDER education reform, Boys and Girls Club JULIA ABEYTA Indian education DIANNE BAROS Pojoaque youth sports DONALD STOUT gay rights BARBARA WOLFF medical disaster assistance MARCELLA ORTIZ GONZALES St. Anne Church FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY Southside Branch Library VIRGINIA WILSON National Alliance for Mental Illness

CARLOS MARTINEZ SR. preservation of cultural and historical traditions JOE MAESTAS acequia advocacy RAY ROMERO acequia advocacy SHIRL ABBEY care of elderly MAYNARD CHAPMAN Food for Santa Fe ANNE McCORMICK Many Mothers SARAH ROCHESTER visiting nurses PETER DONIGER tax assistant ROSEMARY CRAWFORD childrens’ theater VALDEZ ABEYTA Y VALDEZ youth advocate, community activist

show up. Some of those people came every night throughout that winter. “At the end of that year, it became clear to us that we really needed to do something more significant,” Semon said. It also became clear, he said, that not everyone who used the shelter would transition to permanent housing. Some guests were simply chronically homeless. “It spoke to us about how the transitional idea, 30 days (until a person moves to more permanent housing), just was not appropriate for some people,” said Angela Merkert, board secretary. From the beginning, the group’s policy has also been to turn no individual away, including those people who were drunk. Since the shelter’s founding, Merkert said she has seen an improvement in how community agencies deal with issues of homelessness. “There’s just more communication and more awareness of the issues of homeless people, and how do we attempt to create a more seamless support network in the city,” Merkert said. “The awareness of just how many people are out there is something that is ongoing.” While the founding groups might not have shared the same religion, they did share an inherent desire to take care of the needy, Semon said. Volunteer groups have grown beyond the faith communities to include such organizations as Veterans for Peace, AmeriCorps and Capital High School. Board member Guy Gronquist said the key to getting so many groups to work together has been simple: “Respect. We respect each other’s religious traditions.” Today, the Interfaith Community Shelter has 10 paid staff members who stay overnight with the guests, but the vast majority of the work is done by the hundreds of volunteers. Each of the 43 groups rotates staffing the shelter for a week or two during the winter. Volunteers arrive at the shelter at 5 each night. Meals prepared at home are dropped off. Each night, there is a team leader who ensures the shelter is operating smoothly. When the shelter opens its doors at 6 p.m., several volunteers check guests in. Others check in bags (guests can leave bags at the facility during the day), while another group oversees the serving of the food. One day a week, guests can look for clothes in a room set aside for Community Closet, an organization that collects clothes for the homeless and needy. Dinner is served throughout the evening (some people come for meals only). Volunteers are free to leave at 9 p.m. when the night staff comes on duty. A major remodel of the building will begin in the spring, and the facility will eventually be known as the Santa Fe Resource and Opportunity Center because it will provide more than just meals and a place to sleep; it will also offer health care for the homeless and other community resources, such as counseling and jobplacement assistance. The plans for the new facility have been drawn by Vahid Mojarrab, another board member and an architect, who is providing his services pro bono.

SUSAN ODISEOS, former board member

CURRENT BOARD MEMBERS Sue Breslauer Bob Gaines, treasurer Guy Gronquist Ray Masterson Angela Merkert, secretary Vahid Mojarrab Tom Ortiz Brooke Pickrell, vice chairwoman Amelia H. Romero The Rev. Kenneth Semon, chairman Sandra Tompkins L.V. West Charles Cole James Leehan PREVIOUS MEMBERS/FOUNDERS Donald Behnke Barbara Belding Marilie Blanchard Erik Mason Susan Odiseos The Rev. Bethany Carpenter Geri Martinez

On a recent Sunday, the Rev. Gary Kowlaski from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Fe watched as the last of a line of guests trickled into the shelter. The main course was turkey and lasagna. The congregation was hosting, having signed up for two weeks duty this winter. Kowlaski, who is new to Santa Fe, said it was clear the community had responded to a great need. “There’s so many people who are a pink slip or an illness away from homelessness,” Kowlaski said. “Clearly there’s a need for food and shelter for people living on the edge.”

Thursday, November 25, 2010 THE NEW MEXICAN


layton Lewis said his birth certificate doesn’t have a city or state listed on it. Rather, it has longitude and latitude determining the locale in the Atlantic Ocean where he was born on the SS George Washington on Feb. 10, 1923. There was no official doctor on board, he recalled, and some passengers wondered if the diminutive Lewis was going to make it. He did, and he kept on making it, becoming one of the 10 Who Made a Difference this year for his volunteer work at Capital High School and his support for the Santa Fe Community College. “Clayton taught me that you never stop learning,” said Johnny Glaze, a Capital High graduate who is studying medicine at The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. “He is awesome. He got to know you to where he could joke around and still be patient as you learned. At the same time it got to the point where how he related to each student was based on each student’s individual personality. He is almost 88, and he does not act like it.” No, he doesn’t. Spry and full of good humor, Lewis insists he’s only climbing on the 10 Who Made a Difference bandwagon because he wants to draw attention to both Capital and SFCC. “I identify with young people,” he said of his work in the schools. “And it’s not easy being a teacher today.” Robert Sorenson, who brought Lewis into the Health Career Pathways medical program at Capital, called Lewis in to help about three and a half years ago to work with the students on various projects. “Clayton is a retired surgeon, he’s a renaissance man,” Sorenson said. “He couldn’t do enough for us. I don’t know how many hours he spent out there with those students. We would do lab practicals that would start at 6 o’clock in the morning and by golly, he was there. The students just loved him. He would hold their feet to the fire, but he has this grandfather appeal.” Lewis is not volunteering at Capital this semester, because Sorenson retired last spring. Lewis said he hopes the new leaders in place at the Health Career Pathways program will call on him next semester. Among Lewis’ many projects at Capital was a theater/film/communications program in which Lewis would videotape medical students acting as doctors as they dealt with Capital’s theater students in the role of patients. He first utilized this method of teaching communication skills at Michigan State University 50 years ago. “One of the main problems between physicians and the public has to do with communication,” Lewis said. “The students thought they were doing fine, but they later saw themselves on camera not communicating. They’d

who made a di≠erence

JUDY ESPINAR International Folk Art Market SALOME DeAGUERO retired educator, senior-service advocate STEWART YOUNGBLOOD Assistance Dogs of the West THOMAS ROMERO El Museo Cultural SARA MELTON land-use planning, preservation CLARK CASE Community radio station, Dixon co-op YOLANDA COLORADO, PAT GREATHOUSE, & EDDIE HERNANDEZ Little Mozart and Mariachi program, youth symphony and music programs CONNIE TSOSIE Pueblo Opera Program DIANE GRANITO adoption, Heart Gallery REBECCA DONOHUE school counselor


Mentoring teens

By Robert Nott

Photo by Jane Phillips

The New Mexican

be looking at the ceiling, scratching their backside and belching during the interview with the patient.” Lewis arrived in Santa Fe in 1973 and worked as a general surgeon at St. Vincent Hospital — since renamed Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center — for 17 years, he said. Before that, he practiced in Michigan, served time in the Navy during World War II and with the Army during the Korean War. During the latter conflict, he served as chief of surgery at the 97th General Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany. He studied photography years ago under Ansel Adams, who told Lewis to stick to his day job. (Lewis still photographs, paints and is taking a digital photography class at SFCC.) In the late 1930s, he used his paper-route savings to tour Europe for nearly a year, taking photos along the way. After World War II, he gradu-

ated with a medical degree from the University of Michigan. Among his extracurricular activities: fly fishing, sailing, tennis and skiing. Irene Levitt, a longtime friend, recalls Lewis showing up for a 1980s ski trip in Santa Fe wearing a Little Orphan Annie wig, which he kept on all day. She still wonders why. “I’ve been bald since I was 21,” Lewis explained. “I usually buy some wigs the day after Halloween — you can get them very cheap. So I will wear them for my friends once in a while, just for a laugh. I think I still have that Little Orphan Annie wig.” Why does he volunteer? “I had a lot of people help me out when I was a student,” he said. “I want to give back to young people. I don’t know if it’s me that has made a difference here. I think Santa Fe made a difference in my life.”

ARLENE EINWALTER Gerard’s House BOB PIERCE computer fixer MIKE NARANJO Rock Christian Outreach Church WES STUDI actor APRYL MILLER & JOANN SARTORIUS Suicide Intervention Project GRIFF DODGE cross country coach SCOTT ABBOTT teacher, volunteer, Habitat for Humanity ROBIN REINDLE Pecos Schools PTA

onsuelo Hernandez, known to one and all simply as Connie, has made her difference one person at a time, one day at a time, over nearly nine decades. Writer Jaima Chevalier, who nominated Hernandez to be one of the 2010 10 Who Made A Difference winners, described her as “one of the guardians of the soul of the city. She helps virtually everyone she meets.” Helping was what Hernandez learned as a child, watching her mother and grandfather make sandwiches for the passing hobos during the Depression, and often packing extras for the road, too. She and her family lived in a house on Old Santa Fe Trail near Paseo de Peralta; her grandpa’s grocery in front. Proof of their generosity — left behind for the next down-on-hisluck bum, a telephone pole marked with a heart around a cross, “which means,” she said, “if you stop here they will give you something to eat.” Today, the family house is where Hernandez runs her Old Santa Fe Trail Gift Shop, selling religious items and milagros, working several days a week despite her 85 years. She’s a soft touch for local artists, and her shop is an important year-round outlet for them to get their wares before the public. It began as an import shop, opened with her baby sister after the family’s liquor store was lost due to the construction of St. Francis Drive. “We had very pretty things,” Hernandez remembered. “One time I ordered a few religious items and they sold. I began to think, ‘This is what people need. This is what they’re hungry for.’ I turned it into that.” Running the shop “has been wonderful. Everyone that walks through that door is special,” she said. “I’ve had customers tell me stories. They need prayers for someone who is sick. I get little papers and after Mass I write their names in the book. That book is placed on the altar during Mass and they pray for their intentions — that’s a lot of prayers.” Inside the store are rosaries, scapulars, handmade santos, crucifixes and so much more. It’s a treasure-trove of religious art and artifacts. A visitor can leave money at the Padre Pio shrine and ring the bell, and know that when the money builds up, Hernandez will send it to Italy to help pay for maintenance at one of the bells at the saint’s shrine. Such dedication to her faith is as natural as breathing. Born the third of seven children (two boys and five girls), to José Hernandez and Miguelita Sena Hernandez, she grew up attending the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi on Sundays and going to school at Loretto Academy. That early training led her to a lifelong commitment to the history and traditions of Santa Fe, and she, along with such figures as Fray Angélico Chávez and Pedro Ribera Ortega, helped preserve much of old Santa Fe through these modern times. Her family had a special devotion to La Conquistadora, Our Lady of Peace, Santa Fe’s patron saint. “One of my ancestors, 250 years ago, was the mayordomo of the Confradia de la Conquis-

JACQUELINE RAE GOMEZ Pojoaque High student ALIA MUNN Second Street Experience

JOSE BENITO Ben Garcia scholarship fund for Pojoaque students CHARLENE TETERS (SPOKANE) IAIA artist who has led charge against using Indian insignia by sports teams DICK ROTH lobbied for ignition interlock ARTHUR HEMMENDINGER repairs cassette players for the blind DORIS KRAUSE cares for Alzheimer patients DAVID ORTIZ Pojoaque water planning, acequia issues CHRIS PEDERSON Capital High teacher and mentor ILEAN MARTINEZ clean drinking water in Chimayó DR. MURRAY RYAN physician, raised awareness about heroin overdoses in Rio Arriba County SUSAN ROJAS Kuane Elementary volunteer, retired teacher


Reaching Santa Feans one customer at a time
By Inez Russell

Photo by Luis Sánchez Saturno

DIANE ALBERT LANL science-education specialist, Los Alamos County Council BILL & GEORGIA CARSON Salazar Elementary School volunteers AARON GRIEGO youth recreation programs in Dixon GUY MONROE El Dorado Fire and Rescue DAVE NEAL Pojoaque schools capital committee J. PATRICK LANNAN Lannan Foundation GENE VALDES United Way, St. Elizabeth volunteer work MARIA CRISTINA LOPEZ & OTHER FOUNDERS OF SOMOS UN PUEBLO UNIDO KATHY SANCHEZ Tewa Women United DANIEL LEHMAN St. Michael’s student/El Castillo volunteer

The New Mexican

tadora,” Hernandez said. “No wonder we love her so much.” Her mother, Miguelita Sena Hernandez, was sacristana for La Conquistadora, a devotion for which Hernandez was chosen after she reached adulthood. Her mother sewed the cape for La Conquistadora that brought together the many treasures of Santa Fesinos — wedding rings, brooches, engagement rings and other precious items that townspeople brought to be sewn into the cape. Hernandez continued with the important job of caring for La Conquistadora’s wardrobe and preparing her for the annual processions during the Novena Masses for La Fiesta de Santa Fe. In her 85 years, she’s walked the miles between the cathedral and Rosario Chapel for

the procession in all but a very few years. “Three out of 85 is not bad,” she said of her absences. It’s important, Hernandez said, to be careful with the pattern that devotees of La Conquistadora use to make her outfits. “If you make the outfit too long, you don’t show the angels,” Hernandez said. “She speaks to a lot of people. If you pray to her and you listen, you get your answer.” For Hernandez, answers are rooted amid family (a niece runs the shop next door, also in the former family house) and her faith. Since her cataract surgery, she has missed Mass more than she likes — “I’m used to going and coming. I miss it,” she said, “but God gives us strength.” She recently went to get her license renewed and will be back driving soon. “There’s always so much to do,” she said. “I need to get caught up.”


THE NEW MEXICAN Thursday, November 25, 2010

who made a di≠erence

DALE BALL conservation and public trails GLENN BURTRAM Montezuma Lodge MARYANA EAMES cancer survivors work DANI FRYE & NEVA VAN PESKI League of Women Voters BETTY KERSTING Habitat for Humanity JOSE C. MARTINEZ youth sports TESSIE NARANJO native language preservation SYLVIA ORNELAS La Familia, teen parent and pregnancy issues BRUCE RICHARDSON Chimayo Crime Prevention MARY WILLIAMS foster parent

Mr. Zozobra
By Geoff Grammer

Photo by Luis Sánchez Saturno

The New Mexican

DOUG MCDONALD & LOS ALAMOS FIREFIGHTERS ROGER MONTOYA Velarde painter, dancer, choreographer FRED NATHAN Think New Mexico, for all-day kindergarten campaign TOM MILLS & BOB SKYLER Santa Fe Public Schools management auditor JULIA HUDSON missionary teacher at John Hyson School in Chimayó NICHOE LICHEN, ANN LACY & CAROLYN COOK for preserving county open space JOHN AQUINO OF OHKAY OWINGEH health care and nutrition work with tribes KYRA KERR St. Bede’s-Ortiz Middle School Partnership FREDDY MARTINEZ Little League baseball, World War II hero CHRISTIANA TORRICELL Food Depot and Cerro Grande Fire relief

ailed manuscripts. Divorce papers. Pain. Ray Valdez is your guy. Pink slips. Eviction notices. Credit-card bills. Valdez is your guy. Bad habits. Bad memories. Bad mojo. Valdez is your guy. Among the facets of Valdez, the 45-year-old in charge of the production of Zozobra for the past 16 years, is that of being in charge of taking items that symbolize pain and misery to people and stuffing the 49-foot-tall marionette before setting Old Man Gloom on fire. Call Valdez the middleman of misery. “You’d be surprised at some of the things people hold on to that is a symbol of pain or anguish,” said Valdez, who has produced the annual burning of Zozobra since 1995. “When they want to move on, they ask me to put their gloom inside Zozobra to burn it away. To a lot of people, it really does help turn the page on something bad in their life.” But long after tens of thousands of people go hoarse each September chanting “Burn him! Burn him!” and long after the charred remains of Santa Fe’s gloom cool to a pile of ashes atop the concrete stage at Fort Marcy Park, something else happens. From those smoldering ashes of gloom rises some hope. Zozobra is more than an annual pyromaniac’s dream in the heart of downtown Santa Fe.

The annual tradition also happens to be the No. 1 fundraiser for the Santa Fe Downtown Kiwanis Foundation since Zozobra’s creator, Will Shuster, signed over all responsibility for the event to the philanthropic volunteer organization. The proceeds from Zozobra largely go toward one of four areas targeted by Kiwanis: college scholarships, sponsorship of Key Club organizations at Santa Fe High School and Santa Fe Indian School, a Kiwanis Foundation endowment fund and toward a grant program that helps numerous area nonprofits that benefit children. And since 1995, the driving force behind it all has been Valdez, a construction contractor and part-time actor. “There is a group of us — a lot of real committed guys that volunteer every year to get Zozobra going,” said fellow Kiwanis member Dan Clavio. “But without a doubt, Ray is the guy who is leading it all and taking control of everything, while still being gracious about it all. It’s no small thing and Ray pulls it off every year, and a lot of kids and the whole community really benefit from his efforts.” Which is why Clavio nominated Valdez as one of The New Mexican’s 10 Who Made a Difference. “None of this happens without all of them,” Valdez said of the droves of volunteers who help him with all aspects of the event each year. Contact Geoff Grammer at 986-3076 Valdez has loved Zozobra since he was 6, or watching from a tree in his backyard near the

state Capitol as the burning went on in the distance. “He was tiny from where I was, but I knew then that I would never miss another Zozobra,” Valdez said. “I became one of those kids who just loved everything about Zozobra. I built little Zozobras in my backyard. I was just fascinated.” That love bordered at times on an obsession, like when a 16-year-old Valdez was fired from his job at McDonald’s when he went to the burning of Zozobra over the objections of an assistant manager (he got the job back a couple of weeks later). And by age 25, Valdez got his first chance to volunteer in the construction of Zozobra in 1990. He joined Kiwanis in 1992, was a co-producer of Zozobra in 1994 and has been the event’s lone producer since 1995. “I know that seems like mumbo-jumbo, metaphysical junk,” Valdez said. “But I’m from Santa Fe and I’m OK with that. Zozobra is real. I believe he comes alive every year. I believe he burns and gloom is wiped away on that night every year. Then, as the year goes on and stuff starts piling up on all of us again, I honestly believe he starts to come back alive.” But for Valdez, Zozobra became even more than a bogeyman who visits each fall. “It was in the early 1990s, a couple years after I started helping build every year,” Valdez said. “I was helping build bunk beds at Esperanza (shelter) with funds raised through Zozobra. That’s when I had my moment — all of a sudden I realized that my love of pyrotechnics and fire and Zozobra could be transformed into something positive in the community. That moment really brought a love of Zozobra to a whole other level for me and I’d never trade that feeling for anything.” While the excitement of that wide-eyed 6-year-old still emerges any time Valdez gets talking a mile a minute about all the benefits of Zozobra, it seems that the charitable part of his painstaking labor of love has still somehow gone largely unnoticed through the years. “He’s very passionate about it, and he has really strong feelings for Zozobra on lots of levels,” Clavio said. “But he really understands it from a deep level that it provides not only a community ritual, but one that helps so many people in so many different ways.” High-school graduates are having their higher education partially funded by Zozobra: Ashley Jaramillo. Daniel Aguilar. Natalie Torres. Valdez is your guy. Around 30 nonprofits every year receive Zozobra-funded grants. Esperanza Shelter. Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Warehouse 21. Valdez is your guy. And for the 30,000 people who come together each September to share a tradition — Ray Valdez is your guy.

COOKIE JORDAN theater residency project TONY SUAZO Española Santa Claus FABIAN GARCIA El Rito deacon NANCY ZECKENDORF Lensic restoration MICHAEL SIEGLE Crisis Response volunteer CERVANTES “BUDDY” ROYBAL Santa Fe community service JOHN & EMILY DRABANSKI Pecos teachers and Big Brother, Big Sister program DON & NANCY DAYTON Santa Fe Search and Rescue, Eldorado community involvement DR. TREVOR HAWKINS HIV/AIDS treatment ERNIE LOPEZ Taos teacher

CHUCK MONTANO Citizens for LANL Rights KEVIN BELLINGER founder, Harambe youth center GEORGIA SALAZAR MARTINEZ artist, community development Mendenales BRUCE & ELLEN KAIPER Española teachers ZANE FISCHER co-founder, Plan B DR. LARRY SCHREIBER Child-Rite CRISELDA DOMINGUEZ Abiquiú resident ALFONSO “TROMPO” TRUJILLO La Union Protectiva MARY VENABLE White Rock Senior Center CATHERINE OPPENHEIMER executive director, New Mexico National Dance Institute

healthy physical-fitness habits. The 10 weeks ends with the girls running a 5K race, for which they collect food for The Salvation Army. This year, they will run the Santa Fe Striders’ Fowl Day Run. She said the girls brought in more than 1,000 pounds of food last year. Temple said the Santa Fe Striders, a running club she belongs to, has been a huge supporter of her work. “They’ve just been really supportive financially,” Temple explained. “They’re our biggest donor.” Temple, originally from Massachusetts, has lived in New Mexico for 13 years. She got her nursing degree from Santa Fe Community College and has found fulfillment in nursing. “There’s so much flexibility in it,” Temple said. She loves the lifelong learning aspect of nursing. “You should never be bored unless you want to be bored. There is always something to learn. And, of course, it’s recession-proof.” Because she is such an active person, Temple said nursing is a perfect fit for her because she’s always moving. “I don’t sit down very well because it’s my personality. I have to be moving,” she explained. “(Nursing) is not a career where you sit and watch your watch and ask, ‘Is my day over yet?’ ” Temple, who got involved with Girls on the Run in 2006, shortly after it was incorporated as an official chapter in Santa Fe, said the program is her community outreach to promote health and wellness. “Through running, these girls see themselves in a different way,” Temple said. “I feel like as a runner, you know the beauty of running and if you can introduce that to someone it will promote health and wellness and movement, not By Ana Maria Trujillo • Photo by Luis Sánchez Saturno • The New Mexican going home and watching TV.” “Alice has changed the lives of hundreds of girls in this after-school program and she has he members of Girls on the Run know to keep up and don’t give up.” had a profound impact on volunteer coaches,” that as soon as they get out of their Temple has toyed with the idea of spending writes Karen Factor, who nominated Temple classes at Sweeney Elementary School, less time coaching, but the girls keep her comfor the honor. they’re in for a good time. ing back. “It’s a cool program and she just makes it They know that when they come Temple, an emergency-room nurse at Chris- so fun,” said first-year volunteer coach Andell to the gym, Alice Temple will have their pink tus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, was Trujillo. “She encourages the girls.” water bottles and healthy snacks ready. On a selected as one of The New Mexican’s 10 Who During her years with Girls on the Run, Tuesday in November, the girls ran eagerly into Made a Difference for her dedication to Girls Temple has secured new shoes for some of the the gym to take a peek into Temple’s canvas on the Run. girls. She said she alternates between schools bag, happy to discover that the day’s snack was A longtime runner and 10-time marathoner and this year, the girls from Sweeney will grapes and yogurt. (she ran the Boston Marathon “bandit” style get brand-new New Balance running shoes Then they gather in a circle and talk about — without registering — as her first marathon), through a grant from the national organization. the day’s plan and goals. If the girls have Temple saw the organization as a good fit for Temple is training for the Phoenix Rock ’N’ reached a milestone, they can share it and the her, so she became a volunteer coach. But the Roll Marathon in January and is raising money others might give them “snaps.” If it’s a big program has “evolved to being a lot more than for Girls on the Run. milestone, they might get “superstar snaps.” a coach,” Temple said. She has served as a “It’s an honor,” Temple said about being Maybe, if it’s a huge accomplishment, the girls board member, treasurer and now is the counnamed one of the 10 Who Made a Difference. will give each other enthusiastic “silent cheers.” cil director and coach. She coaches about 13 “Obviously it’s based around Girls on the Makayla Baca, 9, a Girls on the Run student, girls after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Run, but I’m not Girls on the Run. The success said it was hard to start running when she Sweeney. of Girls on the Run has been a really big colbegan last year, but “it got easier,” she said. She In fact, her passion for Girls on the Run, a laboration effort, but it’s nice to be acknowllikes Temple because “She’s nice, and she’s fun.” national program, and her modesty made it edged.” “This is my first time running a lot,” said hard for her to talk about herself. Aylin Carrera, 10, a student in Girls on the Run, The 10-week curriculum for girls is designed Contact Ana Trujillo at but “Ms. Alice helps me and my friends tell me to help them learn how to eat well and adopt

Girls on the run

Thursday, November 25, 2010 THE NEW MEXICAN


who made a di≠erence

CHARLES MAXWELL scholarship fund BARBARA GONZALES San Ildefonso Pueblo potter CHRIS ABEYTA community educator AL PADILLA Boys & Girls Clubs DR. IRVING BUNKIN Friends of the Library PHIL BOVE Acequia Madre preservation ISIDORA RAEL nursing home volunteer SARAH ATENCIO Embudo-Dixon area recycling ANTONIO MARTINEZ Upper Rociado church restoration ANTHONY TRUJILLO Our Lady of Guadalupe deacon and Youth Group leader

JUDITH SCARVIE Food Depot ROSS MARTINEZ Española literacy volunteer PAUL MARGETSON part-owner Hotel Santa Fe, youth soccer, United Way BEATRICE NEVARES Bienvenidos Outreach Program ALFREDO ORTIZ Boys State volunteer ERNESTO RAMOS New Mexico Senior Olympics HERB KINCEY St John’s College Search and Rescue

Human rights
By Anne Constable
he Mystery in the Manure” was the intriguing theme of the 1995 Christmas Eve sermon by Talitha Arnold, the senior minister at United Church of Santa Fe. Robert Glick recalls that his daughter came home from her preschool (at the church) with an invitation to the service. Though Glick was raised in the Orthodox Jewish tradition (and his wife in a Protestant church) they decided to go. In her comments, Arnold compared the sanitary holiday nativity scenes to real mangers — with their manure and flies. The sermon was about both finding God in the messiness of our lives and also knowing that God knows what it’s like to live a human life, complete with flies and fertilizer. Glick, now director of the St. Vincent Hospital Foundation, was impressed. “This woman has something to say I want to listen to,” he thought. In the years since then, his respect has grown. “There is so much about her that I admire,” said Glick. “Her ability to deal with everybody in an open, rational, nonthreatening way, to hear what they’re saying. It’s never confrontational. It’s always a give and take, the true meaning of dialogue.” For more than 20 years, those skills have not only helped Arnold build an active congregation of about 500 members, but to be an effective leader in the wider community, whether the issue is religious intolerance, bullying, homelessness, the lack of affordable housing — or helping the victims of an earthquake in Haiti. Vickie Sewing, another fan, said, “One of the things I really admire is how she is willing to take on the hard issues and provide leadership around the conversations that help us all figure where we are and the right things to do, muster strength to take on those issues and lead the charge.” Sewing, former principal at Salazar Elementary School, cited Arnold’s leadership of the church’s lengthy discussion about becoming an “open and affirming” congregation that welcomes all people and her Roundhouse lobbying to pass human-rights legislation. Sharon Ireland, Arnold’s nominator for the 10 Who Made a Difference Award, wrote, “I believe that Santa Fe is a better, and yes, safer place for youth, the poor, the homeless and those of various political and religious persuasions because of the volunteer efforts of Rev. Arnold.” During her early years at the church, Arnold’s primary outside activity was working with Habitat for Humanity. Within months of her arrival in Santa Fe, she joined Habitat’s family selection committee. She served as president of the organization during a period in which it

LINDA CRAIG Pojoaque Valley Soccer League FELIX TRUJILLO Taos Feeds Taos PALEMON MARTINEZ Rio Arriba Cooperative Extension agent

Photo by Luis Sánchez Saturno

The New Mexican
as “battle fatigue” — “as if a good nap would help,” she said. In the last two years, Arnold said she’s conducted three funerals for people who have taken their own lives. Arnold doesn’t buy into the adage that God gives us trials to make us stronger. Rather, she says, “We can’t change things that have happened to us — but by the grace of God, we can use these experiences to help make the world a better place.” An activist by nature, Arnold takes a stand when she observes intolerance in the community. After the 2005 beating of two gay men, she got local clergy to sign a petition. Even if people don’t agree about whether homosexuality is a sin, beating someone up certainly is, and “at least we can come together around violence,” she said. She called a news conference for faith leaders to respond to anti-Muslim rhetoric, reasoning, “If I, as a faith leader, don’t speak out and organize, then the only voices are going to be those of intolerance.” Arnold often makes her points in wellcrafted opinion pieces. “Words help frame our perspectives and give us vision. Faith leaders have a moral obligation to do that,” she said. And they have an obligation to point out when the solutions being advertised are too simplistic. Saying “no” to drugs is not enough, she once wrote; Santa Fe needs to say “yes” to its kids. Arnold said she learned effective public speaking as a member of the Happy Homemakers 4H Club in Tempe, Ariz. But the secret to good preaching, she said, “comes out of paying attention to what is going on in the community, the world and people’s lives.” Arnold and her three siblings were raised by her mother, a biology teacher, in Arizona. Those children — two lawyers, one veterinary surgeon and a minister — were able to attend college thanks, in part, to grants available under the War Orphans Act. Arnold started out as a biology major at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., where she came under the influence of Fred Krinsky, a rabbi who was head of the political science department, and switched to government and religion. She graduated from Pomona in 1975 and Yale University Divinity School in 1980. In 2006, she celebrated the 25th anniversary of her ordination. She is mother to Hey Zeus, a shelter kitty, and Bella, a stray dog. As Larry Rasmussen, a retired professor of Christian ethics, put it, “She takes good care of the concerns of the congregation, but she’s always supporting them in their own work in the community.” Contact Anne Constable at 986-3022 or

renovated nine condominiums and built four houses — without any paid staff. Although no longer on the board, she continues to advocate for volunteers and financial support. She is a founding member of the Santa Fe Children and Youth Commission and was involved in the creation of St. Elizabeth Shelter. Teams from her church still provide monthly meals for residents. United also supplies volunteers to the new Interfaith Community Shelter on Cerrillos Road, and has sent members on adult mission trips to the Sonoran Desert to learn about immigration and poverty. And for years volunteers from United, and the community, have been visiting Salazar and Agua Fría elementary schools to listen to children read, provide moral support for teachers and help with registration and health screenings. Arnold said she sees herself as a “cheerleader” for these causes, perhaps, she joked, to fulfill a childhood fantasy, “although I never had the body size for it.” She continues to emphasize outreach at United. “There is a huge focus on doing good works and helping others within our community and beyond,” Sewing said. After Hurricane Katrina, Arnold provided a moving van, loaded it with supplies such as diapers and water, and commissioned the associate pastor to drive it to a shelter in Texas. The church raised more than $10,000 in cash donations for victims of the earthquake in Haiti and put together more than 300 hygiene kits for those who lost their homes. More recently, volunteers assembled 100 sets of school supplies for Haitian children. Arnold testifies regularly at the Legislature on behalf of human rights for GLBT persons. Recently she spoke out in an opinion article on the dangers of bullying of gay teens. Since 2005, she’s been a member of the bioethics committee at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, dealing with life and death issues. Over the past two years, Arnold has partnered with the Santa Fe Symphony (she sang with the chorus for 15 years) and guest conductor Tom Hall to offer joint presentations on music and theology that have raised more than $1,000 for local charities. This year she was invited to join the executive committee of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, an initiative of the Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services. She went to her first meeting in August in Washington, D.C. The subject is close to her heart. Arnold’s father, a scientist and military vet, was hospitalized at the time of her birth and died by suicide when she was 2. She didn’t learn about the circumstances until she was 16. He apparently suffered from what is now called post-traumatic stress disorder but was then referred to

DONALD CHRISTY Santa Fe police sergeant, school resource o∞cer JODY ELLIS founder Santa Fe Community Orchestra ALBERT GALLEGOS Our Lady of Guadalupe parish ROBERT GUIDICE volunteer Hope House, AIDS housing ERNEST GONZALES Kuane Elementary School mariachis ANNABELLE MONTOYA People of Color AIDS Foundation NELLWYN TRUJILLO Literacy Volunteers of America KOIE McCAULEY Salvation Army, United Way, St. Elizabeth volunteer KAREN WALKER Realtor, city home-rule movement CAROL VIGIL domestic violence commissioner, District Court

JUAN VIGIL owner Stables art space on Canyon Road NANCY PORTER Santa Fe Food Brigade PETER CHAPIN president, Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity REBEKAH BLOOM WOLF middle school student and La Residencia volunteer FLORIAN ARTIE GARCIA president, Santa Fe CARES JEWEL CABEZA DE VACA Mana del Norte, Hispanic women’s organization MARY KARSHIS nurse and patients’ advocate, St. Vincent Hospital JOSE VILLEGAS La Cienega neighborhood organizer ENDELECIA PRINCE Española ballet teacher JOHN CAMMARATA academic counselor Santa Fe Indian School


THE NEW MEXICAN Thursday, November 25, 2010

who made a di≠erence

JOSE RAMON LOPEZ award-winning Spanish Colonial santero ANA GALLEGOS Y REINHARDT founder, Santa Fe Teen Center, and Warehouse 21 JOHN STEPHENSON founder, Santa Fe Community Garden ART SANCHEZ city councilor, water system advocate DIANE REYNA Taos Pueblo, videographer, “Surviving Columbus” AL WADLE gallery owner and volunteer fund-raiser for the Santa Fe Community Foundation CAROL MILLER public health advocate and administrator DOTTIE MONTOYA Española High School nurse RICHARD LUCERO Española mayor for downtown Plaza STEPHEN CHAMBERS & MARCY GRACE founders, Hope House (AIDS residence)

LORRAINE GOLDMAN executive director, Partners in Education KATHERINE KAGEL owner, Pasqual’s Café, Food Depot organizer SKIP HELMS stock broker, United Way fundraiser MIKE BACHICHA tennis professional and fund-raiser KENNETH SICILIANO AIDS activist JACOB VIARRIAL Pojoaque Pueblo governor STUART STEIN La Cienega land-use/water rights attorney JAMES RUTHERFORD director of the Governor’s Gallery GERALD CHACON Rio Arriba agricultural extension agent, ranchers’ rights FRANCELLA PEREA teacher, teen parent center

CAROL DECKER Spanish teacher, Vincenes neighborhood program DAN PADILLA St. John the Baptist Soup Kitchen LENNY ROYBAL basketball coach SUZANNE H. GARCIA Maternal Child and Health Clinic LINDA ESPINOSA Santa Fe High security guard MICHAEL HICE AIDS & Comfort board, community foundation SAM HITT forest preservation GERALDINE SALAZAR Santa Fe Rape Crisis Center ROBERT B. GAYLOR & LINDA KLOSKY founders, Center for Contemporary Arts PAULA DEVITT & ALICE SISNEROS nurses, designed “Heartsaver” CPR program

Finding peace through diversity
By Paul Weideman
erb Lotz served with the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War, and ever since has endured a life under siege. Though often haunted — sometimes disabled — by horrifying memories, he has earned a luminous reputation in Santa Fe because of his community service on several fronts. The photographer, defender of gay/lesbian rights, rodeo enthusiast and volunteer working for a state veterans’ museum is one of this year’s 10 Who Made a Difference. An aficionado of the camera since he was a teenager, Lotz was three years into his studies at the Art Institute of Chicago when he was drafted. After his training at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, he served as a teletype operator in Vietnam. “I was detached with the 25th Infantry, and I passed secret information back to the headquarters,” he said. “The photography I did over there was not for the military. I was doing it to sort of hide out in my mind and avoid the place where I was.” The place he has been since 1980 is a lovely, modest home on East Alameda Street. “I live with PTSD, which at the time I didn’t understand, so one of the first things I did when I moved here is to build this 8-foot wall around it,” he said during a recent visit. “It was like, ‘I’m in my bunker, and I’m safe.’ I finally went through treatment down at the VA in the late 1990s, and it was a lifesaver.” Lotz came out as a teenager, in the early ’60s. His minister, when informed that Lotz was gay, “basically said, ‘Well, you’re going to hell,’ ” Lotz recalled. “My mother was one of those people who always told me to tell the truth, and by and large that’s what I did,” Lotz said. “I’ve always lived my life as openly as I can safely live it, but not denying who I am. “It is a hard road in our culture. You sort of

Photo by Luis Sánchez Saturno

The New Mexican
Sounds like rough work, dealing with big, angry broncs and bulls. “You have to be careful, but they’re welltrained and they’re puppies,” Lotz said. “They look ferocious and violent when they come into the arena, but that’s not who they are. “I was doing barrels and stuff for years, but my horse, Homer, is 19 and he’s too stiff now. He has a lot of miles on his front end because he’s an old roping and ranch horse from Clayton.” Homer is stabled out on West Alameda. Lotz rides him three times a week, preferably getting out to some wide, open spaces — as far as possible from anything reminiscent of jungle. “I’m much more comfortable, emotionally, when I can see a couple miles in every direction,” he said. “Sadly, that stuff never goes away.” Other kinds of open spaces are available to him when he’s on his BMW R80 Dakar motorcycle. On it, he fulfilled a goal he set himself of riding every paved highway in New Mexico. Lotz was nominated for the 10 Who Made a Difference honor by gay/lesbian rights activists Liz Stefanics, a Santa Fe County commissioner, and Linda Siegle. “Between the rodeo and gay rights and the art world here in Santa Fe, he has made major contributions,” Stefanics said. “In terms of the rodeo, here’s a person who is gay but he has many straight friends and cowboy friends and war friends, all kinds of friends just because of who he is and all his past experiences.” “I love living a spiritual life,” Lotz said recently. “It’s not a religious life; it’s just about acknowledging the other dimensions of life. I find great peace in that. “Gay, single men have a lot to offer. Men and women who have families with children have their hands full. I think it’s an obligation we single people have — to pick up the slack.” Contact Paul Weideman at

THE REV. SHIRLEY GREENE United Church of Christ, Habitat for Humanity JULIE PADILLA Santa Fe Animal Shelter LESLIE NORDBY Acequia Madre principal STATE REP. ROMAN MAES, D-SANTA FE for landfill legislation SILVER ORTEGA City Recreation Dept., involved in local sports CHRIS WELLS environmental education, All Species Project EDWARD ORTIZ Santa Fe Public Schools superintendent CONNIE TRUJILLO founder and director Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families MICHAEL HAMILTON El Parian gallery owner THOMAS REED founder Vivigen genetic-testing laboratory

give up ... when a gay person comes out, you give up a lot of personal power. You can’t be a real player in a society and a business world that diminishes that. You’re not going to run a big company. It’s not going to happen.” In the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, Lotz did volunteer work for New Mexico AIDS Services. In the late 1990s, he designed photo storyboards for the Human Rights Alliance to help combat discrimination against gays. “The primary one I worked with was POCAF, the People of Color AIDS Foundation, raising money to help people in the Hispanic community who were dealing with AIDS. You know, because I’m a hard-core Latino,” he laughed. “Actually, when I came here, I identified more with my mother’s family, the Italians, and this felt like her community. I see it as sort of archaic European, and it felt safe.” His photography, in recent years, has been specialized toward books and art catalogs. However, when Eastman Kodak suspended his favorite film, he was left “virtually out of business in photography.” He recently donated his negatives and prints to the Palace of the Governors. And he plans to survey those artifacts of a creative life with an eye to publishing a few books. “In Vietnam, I didn’t do combat photography,” he said. “I shot behind all that, and that work is one of the books I’d like to do.” Lotz is on a board of directors that is planning to build a New Mexico Veterans’ Museum in Las Cruces. He has also served on the boards of the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian and the Santa Fe Rodeo. He likes to work the chutes at the rodeo. He got into it when Robert Himmerich y Valencia was retiring and asked Lotz if he would be willing to join the rodeo association and work the chutes — managing the livestock, getting them in and out during the shows.

Thursday, November 25, 2010 THE NEW MEXICAN


ost mornings of the week, Elizabeth Guss can be found in Howard Shapiro’s busy math classroom at Capshaw Middle School. While Shapiro is in his morning meeting, she gets started by writing the daily tasks for his classes on the overhead projector. At the beginning of class, Shapiro prompts his students to say good morning to all the volunteers. “Good morning, Dr. Guss,” the students said in cheerful unison as they greeted the faithful volunteer. She chats and jokes with a student as Shapiro divides up the students in groups to take their practice assessment. “C’mon down,” she said encouragingly to the students who were assigned to her group, as though she was calling down contestants on The Price is Right. Once they sat down in their places, she proceeded. “You know how to do one of these,” she asked the students. “Do you know how to make a decimal into a fraction?” She proceeded to explain the mathematical process to the two students at her station. It is for her tireless dedication to the students of Capshaw Middle School that Guss, 48, was selected as one of The New Mexican’s 10 Who Made a Difference. “To have someone of Elizabeth’s caliber, with her immense background in education, in the classroom is a real privilege,” Shapiro said as his students took a test after their tutoring sessions. Guss started volunteering at Capshaw Middle School in 2007, when her own son was a seventh-grader in Shapiro’s math class. Now, he’s a sophomore at the Academy for Technology and the Classics and she’s still volunteering. “My son matured, and I didn’t,” Guss joked. “The need was here, so I stayed when my son moved on.” The kids keep her coming back, she said. She loves to help them learn and watch them move up in math levels. “On the day-to-day, I really enjoy watching them learning and succeeding in what they’re doing,” Guss said. “They’re always amazed that they can learn that much. I’m not amazed but I’m always really proud of them. They put in the really hard work, and we’re just here to help them. It’s really fun to see them make that growth and have that sense of accomplishment.” Guss said that while she got strong scores on the math sections of the SAT and ACT exams, she learned in college that her skills weren’t as special as she thought. “There were lots of holes in my math skills and when I hit college physics, I found them really quickly,” Guss said. “When I dropped physics, I enrolled in a remedial math class and found out what they were.” Around the time she saw her son was experiencing difficulties in math, Shapiro asked her to volunteer. Both she and her son thought it was

who made a di≠erence

MOLLY WHITTED former director of Santa Fe Beautiful GLORIA SAWTELL Santa Fe Community Foundation HILBERT SABIN Inter-faith Council, Peace Alliance ARTURO GONZALES La Familia Medical Center, director MICHAEL RICCARDS St John’s College president PAQUITA HERNANDEZ founder of Celebrate Youth! LARRY BANDFIELD founder, Santa Fe Desert Chorale ALBERT ORTEGA Alvord Elementary School principal ELLEN BIDERMAN, ELLYN FELDMAN, SUSAN McINTOSH & LONDI CARBAJAL Santa Fe Children’s Museum co-founders ANITA SHIELDS & TINA LOPEZ-SNIDERMAN SFCC Women in Transitions program

Learning through teaching
By Ana Maria Trujillo

Elizabeth Guss
Photo by Natalie Guillén

The New Mexican

a good idea, so she started going a couple of hours a week to volunteer. “My couple hours a week turned into a couple hours a day,” Guss said with a smile. “I’m here a lot.” Guss said she has been more readily available to volunteer since taking medical retirement from her position as the division head for business and professional studies at Santa Fe Community College after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999. “That was my life before I was retired,” Guss explained. “Now I’m here during the school day and I try to be here as much as my health will allow.” Guss’ path to teaching was a long one. Her undergraduate years were mostly spent at Hope College in Holland, Mich.; but she took several credits at both BirZeit University in Ramallah on Israel’s West Bank; and the Universitat Evrit on Mount Scopus in West Jerusalem as part of a pilot study-abroad program her college had launched. That was stressful for her, she said. “I was there during the war on Lebanon, and I think it was very hard on my parents to have me out of the country and in a war zone,” Guss said. When she got back, she attended the Fleming School of Law at the University of Colorado — which she’d hope would be close to combining her interests in political theory, philosophy, sociology and history. In the 1980s, she moved to Durango, Colo., to take a job as a lawyer for both a private practice and as a contract lawyer for Colorado Rural

Legal Services and Indian Legal Services Corp. The pay was low, but “it was good work in that it served a major community need,” Guss wrote in an e-mail. It was while in Durango that she “caught the teaching bug,” and in 1991 began teaching a political science class at Fort Lewis College. She soon moved to Santa Fe to become a faculty member at Santa Fe Community College. Guss has been taking college classes since 1980, missing only one semester because of her illness. She maintains that one of the best things about volunteering is that she continues to learn new things from the Capshaw Middle School math students. “It’s really fun for me,” Guss said. “There are still things about elementary math that can still be discovered.” Guss has always been involved with kids in one way or another. She’s served as a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters while at law school in Boulder, CO; she was a junior varsity volleyball coach for Holland High School; and has served as a camp counselor. Guss said, about being selected for 10 Who Made a Difference, “I’m really surprised, and I’m proud. I owe Jane (Brickner) a huge hug and a dinner,” she said about the woman who nominated her. “I’m really proud because I think there are a lot of people in Santa Fe who give a lot of themselves to this community ... I would labor in obscurity, whether recognized or not, but it’s really nice to be recognized.” Contact Ana Trujillo at

SAM ARQUERO Chochiti Pueblo ANN DASBURG community and international justice activist ALFONSO GARCIA teacher and principal LYNN KELLY New Vistas ANDREW SHEA founder, New Mexico Repertory Theater WEST SIDE RESIDENTS United Farrocarril Neighborhood DOUGLAS SCHWARTZ president, School of American Research GILBERTO ROMERO mental health advocate JOE C’de BACA District Attorney’s O∞ce DON SCHMIDT AIDS services

Social justice
By Sandra Baltazar Martínez Photo by Jane Phillips The New Mexican
very Sunday morning, Lydia Pendley stands behind a brown folding table she sets up in a corner of the church hall. Her quiet demeanor and friendly smile greet people as they stop by to look at the spice jars, calendars, jewelry, books or whatever she has up for sale at her “Juárez Store.” Besides taking donations from the community at large, she also leads a team of volunteers to help with an annual garage sale and a fundraising dinner she’s planned for Dec. 4. She needs a minimum of $6,500 to buy wood, concrete, windows and other building material needed to construct a three-room house in Rancho Anapra, a colonia near Ciudad Juárez. In January, Pendley will have helped build 18 homes since 2000, when The Juárez Build started. “For a group of us, this is what we’re called to do,” said Pendley, a retired state chief of the Office of Health Promotion and Community Health Improvement and devoted volunteer at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Santa Fe. Since she took the Christian educator position with St. Bede’s 10 years ago, building homes for the homeless in Rancho Anapra has become part of her passion. “The people of Juárez and the people of Anapra have become our community too,” said Pendley, who added that volunteers are aware of the border violence, but are still willing to work on the edifice that will provide families a home of their own. Not going there would “feel as if we were abandoning our family,” Pendley said. “These trips are about love, about service and about giving of ourselves,” said Pendley, who is a co-group leader for Results in Santa Fe. Results is a national organization that works on policies with Congress to end poverty at home and abroad. In her “free” time, Pendley, 67, also serves as president of Health Action New Mexico, a statewide nonprofit that aims to give health care access to those who can’t afford it. Pendley’s drive to help the poor almost makes her indispensable, said Tammy Maitland, 32, who volunteered to build six homes in Anapra and will be going in January as well. “She really does a lot to keep it going every year,” Maitland said. Jane Peacock, a volunteer who works with

SISTER SHIRLEY LA BLANC Catholic Sisters of Charity MARY LOU COOK founder of Santa Fe Living Treasures RENA PARADIS Literacy Volunteers JOE SCHEPPS developer and philanthropist ARTURO GONZALES La Familia Medical Center JACQUIE STEVENS potter ELAINE JUARROS teacher SARAH GRACE New Mexico AIDS Services ORLANDO HERNANDEZ animal shelter DOROTHY WADE volunteer

Pendley on the Juárez Build projects, said Pendley took the building idea “and ran with it.” The idea came from Peacock 10 years ago, when her late mother, who lived in El Paso, asked her and her three siblings to build a home for a Juárez family as a gift for her 75th birthday. “I think she just always wanted us to have a heart for others. She lived on the border and saw how the innocent people suffered,” Peacock said of her mother, Dorothy Ann Caldwell, who died a year and a half ago. Through her mother, Peacock met Dan Klooster, a pastor and leader of Gateway Missions in El Paso, the group in charge of the builds in Juárez and throughout other border towns. Klooster works with faith groups in Juárez, who are also in charge of looking for families in dire need of a new home. Peacock then brought the idea to Santa Fe. Now people from the Buddhist, Jewish, Catholic and nondenominational communities have teamed up to help construct the houses, which take about three days to build from the ground up.

Peacock said they encounter families who live in cardboard homes or who use mattress springs as walls for their makeshift houses. One trip in particular stands out, Peacock said: A home they worked on was for a family of seven after their house burned down; husband and wife and their five children were forced to live in an abandoned bus for an entire year. “We don’t understand the concept of ‘ nothing’ in the U.S., but they had nothing,” Peacock said. It’s for families like that one, that all volunteers keep working to raise money and offer people a place of their own. As far as Pendley’s retirement goes, she said she will continue to help the needy “as long as am able and God gives me the strength.” “It’s part of my faith: Feed the hungry, clothe the naked. We’re called to look at the world around us,” Pendley said. “We’re called to change and improve people’s lives.” Contact Sandra Baltazar Martínez at 986-3062 or

FR. GEORGE SALAZAR & DAN PADILLA St. John the Baptist Church JANE & E.B. HALL P’OAE PI Gallery HOYT MUTZ high school coach and counselor DAVID GURULE Santa Fe Group Homes DARBY McQUADE owner, Jackalope Pottery RAIN PARRISH Wheelwright Museum RAMONA CHAVEZ & MARIE ROARK Los Amigos del Valle


THE NEW MEXICAN Thursday, November 25, 2010